by Luis Cotovio and Daniel George
Episode 22: The Planet That We Head For
(Japanese Name: 向かうべき星 / Mukaubeki Hoshi)
Director: Kiyoshi Egami
Running time: 24m 42s (21m 00s without credits)
- (Cinema/Home Video): Uchuu Senkan Yamato by Isao Sasaki
- (TV): Fight For Liberty by Uverworld
- (Cinema/Home Video): Rest In Peace by JAM Project
- (TV): Distance by Juju
[DG]: This episode starts on July 15, 2199 going by the preview for the episode, with 211 days remaining until humanity’s demise.
Given that this episode picks up either the same day as or the next day after landing on Leptapoda, the day count becomes questionable. This day count means it’s been nineteen days since the space burial aboard Yamato. The idea that it’s taken the crippled ship- nearly three weeks to get to Leptapoda isn’t that farfetched, but there’s nothing to suggest that it’s taken UX-01 that long to get there, nor that Yuki has been on Leptapoda for more than a day when she leaves aboard UX-01 during the rebellion.
The episode opens with captain Okita making an entry into the captain’s log. His narration is illustrated with scenes of their time on the liberated prison planet. He reports that upon landing on Leptapoda to resupply, Yamato‘s crew learned a surprising fact; that Iscandar, their destination and which they’d though of as a planet of hope, is the twin planet of Great Garmillas, the enemy home world. We see Yamato land on a dry dock on the prison complex’s astroport and large cranes are brought in to assist in the repairs.
[LC]: This is only the second time 2199 resorts to good old narration to advance its plot, the other being in Episode 1. A curious detail about both is that they’re framed in the same way. Instead of some narrator simply describing a certain set of events, we have characters within the story conveying these events. First Yuki telling a class of children what lead Earth to the brink of extinction, and now Okita making a record of the events that took place since the end of the previous episode.
Once again, 2199 plugs an original plot hole from the original, in this case the magical repairs that occur after the battle of the Rainbow Star Cluster. Yamato was in far worse condition in the original, especially because without the Wave-Motion Shield to protect it, it took the full brunt of Domel’s suicidal explosion. As a result, most of the bottom half of the ship was simply gone. No way even an expert repair crew could bring it back to full spec. And yet, the very first time we see Yamato in the following episode, it’s in pristine condition.
This impossible turn of events was recognized as simply impossible, so they dialed the damage down through the use of the Wave-Motion Shields. Still, they recognized the need for something extra to repair what damage the ship has. Even Enomoto’s crew would need many weeks to fix all that. So here we have it, a dry dock where they have the equipment to expedite those repairs in a realistic time frame.
[DG]: Especially how the third bridge was destroyed in the explosion and somehow repaired only to get melted off by the Gamilas acid ocean.
There looks to be two Garmillas battleships in dock here: Dietz’s Haizerad-class and a Gaiderol-class to its starboard. Whether this ship was part of forces loyal to Dietz or a ship assigned to the base isn’t known. However, since the prison planet wouldn’t be considered a high-value asset, I’m inclined to lean toward it being part of Dietz’s forces, here to secure Leptapoda. I take this from the perspective that if Leptapoda actually did have ships assigned to it, not being on the front line means they would likely be part of Balun flotilla and thus stuck with taking the long way back to their regular assignment. I also consider it unlikely that a battleship class ship would be assigned to such a station given how shorthanded the navy is. At best, they’d have a Destoria or more likely a few smaller and older ships.
The Gaiderol was already at Leptapoda when the UX-01 arrived in the previous episode, so I assumed it was assigned to Bozen. Being a prison warden, he was probably not required to join the naval review. We must assume some ships were left behind at their outposts, much like this Haizerad. We don’t know where they got it, but the fact that it’s here proves not all the ships went to Balun. Just… most of them (or at least enough to justify the lack of resistance to Yamato’s invasion). XD
We see a meeting between the Yamato officers – Okita, Kodai and Sanada, as well as Yurisha – and a Garmillas delegation, led by Dietz, Melda and Elisa. They kneel before Yurisha as they enter the room in a sign of respect. Okita’s narration describes the connection shared by the twin worlds; that the Garmillans hold Iscandar to be an object of worship.
He proceeds to describe the meeting with Dietz, who had been imprisoned in Leptapoda. He and his comrades are rebelling against the current leader of Garmillas, but given all the past events involving Yamato, quickly putting aside all their differences proved impossible.
[LC]: I like that they didn’t cut corners here and make instant peace between Earth and Garmillas. First, Dietz doesn’t have the authority (yet) to make peace with Earth on behalf of the Empire. Second, it just couldn’t work like that. Even if Earth did recognize that it fired first, even if Garmillas accepted that apology and admitted they would have attacked anyway… the fact is they’ve been at war for eight years now. Most of the Earth’s population has been eliminated. Yamato’s incursion has also cost numerous lives, Domel’s chief among them. His wife is at the table. No matter how good a sport she might be about it or if she accepts his death as the cost of war… it just isn’t a simple matter. There’s a lot of healing to do on both sides. I do believe a non aggression pact between Dietz’s faction and Yamato is truly as good a deal as they can get at this point in time.
We just knew Melda would end up back here, didn’t we?
[DG]: Here we have the inference from Okita’s narrative that Dietz was, in fact, guilty as charged in rebelling against Dessler’s regime.
Is it just me, or is the character linework in this scene indicative of the rushed timeframe they would have had for this volume? Melda appears to be half-drawn, and Elisa looks very poorly drawn (even Melda’s closeup looks rather substandard). Since the vast majority of the production timeframe for Chapter 6 would have been spent on Episodes 19 and 20, 21 and 22 would have been comparatively rushed. We can’t exactly be surprised by a drop in quality.
Nope. Though it’s still not the worst we’ll see in this episode, the quality did indeed slip.
Blink and you’ll miss it: the Garmillan contingent offers a salute to the lone Iscandarian in the room. Astonishingly, it’s the right fist over the heart, the iconic salute of the original Yamato saga. 22 episodes in, we all had to assume it was eliminated for good, but now here it is. But…does it mean anything? If it’s reserved for Iscandarians it probably won’t go beyond this context. But if a certain mutinous action requires dropping certain naval traditions in a certain sequel, well…this may not be the final word.
Yurisha is saddened as Dietz and his entourage leave the meeting. Melda lingers behind, sharing a complicit look with Kodai. Okita proceeds to say all was not lost. They were provided several useful pieces of information about Garmillas.
[DG]: Melda’s regret at their not being able to come to an agreement is obvious. She respects Kodai, and it is quite obvious she’d rather not have to fight him. I can’t help but wonder if she’s noticed his mental absence which has been obvious to everyone else aboard ship.
Next we see Sanada and the command staff in the Central Operations Room, studying a detailed map of Great Garmillas and its capital city Baleras. They’ve learned that Garmillas is lead by Aberdt Dessler, who rules over his vast, interstellar empire with a terrible iron fist. We see Nanbu and Shima going over some details when they notice Kodai’s absent look, the recent events involving Yuki obviously weighing heavily in his mind.
[LC]: Some might say there’s no way Dietz would give them such information. But I think it’s plausible. Okita has mentioned their objective is not to destroy Garmillas and its people, but to reach Iscandar. To isolate Dessler as the true target, instead of the whole of Garmillas, plays in their mutual favor. Dietz gets rid of an overbearing dictator and Yamato, if forced to engage Garmillas, has a specific target to strike, avoiding further bloodshed. As we’ll see, its good that things played out like this, when their plan goes out the window and they’re forced to do just that.
[DG]: While Okita talks about an immediate alliance with Dietz not being possible, there are a number of positives to come out of their meeting. Firstly, Dietz trusts that Yurisha is safe with Yamato, or at the very least is trusting her judgement to remain aboard. Secondly, the information about Garmillas provided by Dietz isn’t exactly something you’d divulge to an enemy with a weapon of mass destruction, and whom you would expect to use that weapon when they’re headed to the Imperial Capital system.
The map shows Baleras’ coordinates to be (42.423457, -143.016528). Plugging these coordinates into Google Maps shows the Terran equivalent location to be about 1,000 kilometers west of the California-Oregon state border, in the middle of the North Pacific. So, no hidden meaning in the location. Perhaps this was intentional, so as not to offend anyone by placing Baleras at the same location on Garmillas as any city on Earth.
Next we see a fully-repaired Yamato leaving the dry dock alongside Dietz’s Haizerad. They’re observed from the ground by the released prisoners as they board a large transport, Yabu among them. Okita says Dietz is headed to the remaining prison planets, intent on liberating them too.
[LC]: Well, Yabu certainly got a better break than in the original. I do wonder something… did he decide to take his chances and remain among the released prisoners instead of returning to Yamato’s brig?. Given Yabu’s cowardly personality, I always thought he would run back aboard first chance he got rather than facing an unknown fate with the Zaltzi. Maybe his fate was decided off screen, we’ll never know. But this isn’t the last we’ll see of the chubby engineer.
[DG]: Surrounding Yabu are an Alterian (lucky to be incarcerated off his homeworld), a Gatlantean, and a surprising number of Zaltzians (assuming there are no other worlds with human-like skin tones). Interesting that there’s not one pure-blooded Garmillan in the immediate area.
To me, this once again raises the question of the history of Zaltz’s annexation. If the Zaltzians here are political prisoners, were they born into Garmillan occupation and thus campaigning for their homeworld’s emancipation, or was the annexation more recent, and were these people protesting their government’s surrender? Either way, their treatment here is in line with Melda’s admission to Kodai back in Episode 10 – that those who surrender are treated fairly. So it would appear this includes dissidents.
At this point, we must be able to assume that the Gaiderol-class dreadnought is being utilized to escort the transports that take the prisoners off-world. To what fate, exactly? Since we know what happens to Yabu, it must be assumed that at least some of the others meet a non-grisly fate. Are they given a similar option as him?
Once they leave the atmosphere the two battleships part ways, Dietz proceeding with his liberation crusade and Yamato with its own mission. Okita salutes his quasi-allies as they move away, his narration revealing that though they are unwilling to fight alongside Yamato, they left a liaison aboard to maintain a line of dialogue.
[DG]: And here is where the big, important diversion from the original series takes shape, which began eleven episodes ago back when Melda was first aboard Yamato. While they can’t put aside their differences, they’re not exactly giving up on the idea of peaceful coexistence. Gul Dietz has already been shown to be a more pragmatic person than many Garmillans, and that has also reflected in the attitude of his daughter.
Unsurprisingly, that liaison is none other than Melda Dietz. We watch as Kodai presents her to the remaining members of Yamato‘s air wing. Melda looks at a familiar face, smiling at her from the front row. It’s Akira Yamamoto, who salutes her.
[LC]: It’s funny to realize how uncomfortable Melda is as a liaison aboard Yamato. She seemed much more at ease when she was just a “prisoner”.
[DG]: She’s a combat pilot. While she may have been comfortable with the situation back in Episode 10, which was expected to be a short and temporary matter, here she has no idea how long it will go on. And she doesn’t have her Czvarke.
Nice to see Yamamoto really did move on from her grudge, like she said in Episode 12.
Akira is certainly happy to see her old sparring partner again.
Returning to previous discussions we’ve had concerning the number of combat pilots aboard Yamato, it’s worth noting that we see a total of 20 pilots in this briefing, including Kodai and Yamamoto. (click the image above left for the full pan)
The Garmillan ace pilot promptly reciprocates her gesture. Okita continues his log, describing his hope that Melda’s presence and their cooperation might lead to a future of hope. He also reports that Yuki was confirmed to be alive. Eliza Domel, who made contact with her, told them the Garmillans believe her to be Yurisha.
[DG]: Okita mentioning Elisa Domel by name made me wonder something. Given his respect for Domel as an opponent, I wonder if at any point during their contact did Okita pay his respects to Elisa once he knew who she was? I’m sure Elisa is pragmatic enough to not hold Okita or Yamato responsible for her husband’s defeat in battle.
[LC]: It’s quite likely that a lot more happened “off-camera”. We know Eliza briefed them on her encounter with Yuki so these meetings were a lot lengthier than we see here. And it’s quite plausible that Okita payed homage to her husband, especially if we consider that he was the only enemy commander to actually show himself. The one exception was Captain Vars Lang in Episode 10, but he was hardly an antagonist at that point.
Okita’s log is interrupted as the admiral recoils in pain. Grabbing his chest, he places the PA mic in its stand. He looks out into the stars as he begs his body to hold on just a little longer.
[LC]: Damned Planet Bomb Syndrome.
[DG]: Again we’re reminded of Okita’s illness. He still seems more mobile than he was in the original, suggesting that it wasn’t the crippling radiation sickness his classic saga counterpart eventually succumbed to, but some sort of heart damage.
Thinking back to the conversation with Hijikata on the eve of Yamato’s departure, if Hijikata had gone on the voyage instead, would Okita have survived? If it were only a heart condition, perhaps. His chances would have been substantially higher than the mission would have allowed, at least.
Great Garmillas: Dessler and his command staff are assembled in the throne room to welcome Yurisha Iscandar to their midst. He conveys how honored he is to have her there.
[LC]: Ah, the first truly bad animation moment of this episode. As we’ve mentioned in previous commentaries, Episode 22 marks the absolute low point in terms of animation quality in 2199. The previous sequences were good enough to pass without contention but from this point on, we’ll start seeing some truly awkward stuff. This particular shot has become known as the “Dessler Afro”. I do believe the image (above left) is pretty self explanatory. In the compilation movie A Voyage to Remember, this shot was fixed, though it’s funny that they took the time to do some hair management on Dessler but didn’t change a thing in his horribly drawn staff members. (click the image for a full size comparison between the episode and movie frames).
[DG]: Personally I thought the first bad example was at the negotiating table.
As I said, that was bad but still palatable. Here… it’s really breaking apart. I mean… how hard did you laugh when you noticed Dessler’s “bad hair day”? It’s also a sign of production chaos that you have two almost very similar shots with a noticeable difference in quality. The shot on the left is quite bad. Besides the puffed-up Dessler hair, the remaining characters are very badly drawn. The one on the right is much cleaner and well drawn. Probably finished earlier, before all hell broke loose.
Confronted by Yuki’s blank expression, Dessler asks her if she has forgotten him. Yuki remains silent as Celestella gazes upon her with an inquisitive eye.
[LC]: Though Dessler doesn’t seem to realize this is not Yurisha before him, Celestella is at least on the fence. Maybe she just has a good eye for spotting differences in character design. XD
Oh, if looks could kill, Celestella. Meanwhile, I believe even at this early outset Dessler knows Yuki isn’t Yurisha.
It’s possible. He doesn’t show any reaction when Celestella eventually voices her suspicions but that’s usual Dessler. Cold and composed. But I bet he would at least voice his knowledge at that point.
2199 seems to be suffering from The Empire Strikes Back syndrome. You know, that thing in which two plot threads seem to take place in totally different time frames. Yuki is the Millennium Falcon chase where only a few hours or a couple of days (max) seem to pass. Yamato is Luke on Dagobah, which seems to take place over several weeks. Yet, as a whole, both narratives are meant to be taking place over the same time span. For those who don’t speak in Star Wars, let me explain.
We saw Yamato land on Leptapoda and undergo the necessary repairs to the heavy damage incurred at the Rainbow Star Cluster. It isn’t stated exactly how long it took to fix the ship, but even in SF repair time, it must have been a week or two; at least enough time for negotiations with Dietz and to organize the prisoners for departure. Even if we cut it down to the bare minimum, Yamato’s stay on Leptapoda certainly took more time necessary for UX-01 to return to Garmillas. From what we saw in Episode 19, travel time from Garmillas to the Rainbow Star Cluster was short, even via Geschtam Jump. Leptapoda is closer to Garmillas, so let’s assume it’s even quicker. This, coupled with the “15 day time lapse” that supposedly took place between episodes 20 and 21, supports the opinion that not enough attention was given to maintaining a proper and coherent timeline.
[DG]: And as I said numerous episodes back, for a series which has gone out of its way to improve the accuracy of the science, the fact that they have failed to keep track of time is extremely disappointing, a case of lazy writing and planning. Still, the worst examples of this are yet to come.
Kodai is forced to intervene in a discussion taking place in Yamato’s main hangar. Melda insists on being allowed aboard one of the Cosmo Falcons but Kato is unwilling to allow it. Kodai asks Melda what her mission is and she says that she is there as a liaison. Kodai asks if those duties involve using a Falcon. When she says they don’t and Kodai says that’s all there is to it, Melda promptly stands down, much to Kato’s chagrin.
[LC]: It’s funny to see Kato being frustrated by Melda’s difference in behavior toward him and Kodai. Here he is, telling her she can’t board a Falcon and she keeps insisting she must have a plane. Then Kodai basically says no and she accepts it. That must take the piss out of Kato and his short temper.
Though the scene itself is quite enjoyable and fun, it pains me to watch it. The faces are so poorly drawn they look like the work of a kindergarten child, rather than someone working at any animation studio worthy of that name. And no, I don’t think I’m being too harsh. I do hope they learned the lesson that when you cut time from such a production schedule, it means compromising something. In this case, it was animation quality. In Chapter 7 it was presenting an incomplete product, which I believe was a better decision. I would prefer to not have episode 22 completed than to have this…
Admittedly, if all scenes that look this bad had been cut from the theatrical presentation, an already rather confusing episode would be totally bonkers. That is the only reason why I manage to “forgive” such a sloppy job. More on those confusing aspects as we bump into them.
And again we see wild oscillations in animation quality. The wide shot of Kato’s reaction to Melda’s acceptance of Kodai’s orders is quite nicely animated, though his movements are cartoonishly exaggerated, something that we’ll see again in this episode. Also, between the shots above, they burned a whole 9 seconds of running time with a simple pan of the Falcon’s cockpit. That’s one way to fill time.
Above them, someone says they have something which she can pilot. Shinohara pops out of his Falcon’s cockpit, recalling that they still have the Garmillas plane he used for reconnaissance. Kato is delighted with the plan…and the fact Melda has no idea what they’re talking about.
[LC]: Good continuity. With the time that passed since Episode 18, good to see Shinohara out of his cast and back on duty.
Also… why didn’t Kato remember they have a perfectly fine Czvarke on board? Sure, the plane’s left a lasting impression on Shinohara. He was almost killed in it. But still, come on, Kato.
Kodai pats Kato on the shoulder and says he’ll let him take care of it. Kato tries to protest but Kodai jumps away and out of reach. He flies past Yamamoto but doesn’t say a word. She is visibly shaken by his silence but snaps out of it as she sees a grinning Kato waving at her.
[LC]: You may have noticed that Kodai’s relationship with Yamamoto has pretty much been taken out of the equation and they’ve hardly had any interaction since she pulled that stunt with Melda back in Episode 11. At first I believed this shot reflected that, but I don’t think Kodai would have held a grudge for this long. After a while I take it more as Kodai really having his head somewhere else. He’s so fixated on Yuki at this point that anything else is just scenery.
I don’t think Kodai just going right past Akira had anything to do with her previous actions; I just think it’s indicative of him flying on autopilot. So far all of his interactions with others since Yuki’s abduction have been strictly related to his duties or his mission. Right now he’s focused on doing everything he can, by the letter, to allow that mission to succeed. It’s also all he can do to stop going insane about Yuki.
Kato is a rascal. Though it makes sense that he passes this down to Yamamoto. She and Melda have put their history behind them and seem to be in a relatively good place, as demonstrated by Yamamoto’s warm welcome to her.
Yamamoto escorts Melda to hangar 3, where the captured Czvarke has been stored. Akira asks Melda if she is sure about it all, since she might be forced to fight her own people. Melda says that will depend on Yamato and its crew. Their mission is to reach Iscandar, not to go to Garmillas and fight. Will they succumb to a desire for revenge and try to destroy Garmillas?
[LC]: I think the question here isn’t weather Melda will fight her own people or not. Since her father is now spearheading a revolutionary movement against Dessler’s reign, fighting her own people is a given. The dialogue makes it seem she has a choice. What the dialogue should focus on is the difference of fighting her own people alongside Yamato or not. I do believe she wouldn’t participate in such an operation.
Yamamoto dismisses the idea, saying it isn’t true. From behind her, Yurisha’s soothing voice adds that “it isn’t true anymore”. The two look at their interloper. While Melda bows in respect for the Iscandarian princess, Yamamoto is less welcoming. As Yurisha seeks confirmation of her statement, Akira just moves on and says she’s been wanting to ask her something.
[LC]: Yurisha’s point is quite valid. Earth was nearly destroyed and the human race is facing extinction due to Garmillas’ attacks. The desire for revenge is a powerful thing. But much like Yamamoto overcame hers, she believes Earth as a whole can do the same. We’ve seen both ends of the spectrum in the crew. Kodai and Yamamoto overcame it. Shima is still somewhere in between. And the recently deceased Ito would rather destroy Garmillas than even consider a peaceful solution to the conflict.
Melda is deeply insulted by Akira’s finger pointing, since it’s disrespectful to do so at an Iscandarian. She quickly moves Akira’s hand away but Yurisha just smiles and says she doesn’t really mind, surprising Melda. Yamamoto asks Yurisha why she never told Earth Iscandar and Garmillas were twin planets. Yurisha’s response is as plain and simple as could be expected. That if they had know the truth, Yamato would never have come here. Or would they? Disarmed by Yurisha’s childlike simplicity and friendly demeanor, Yamamoto is unable to answer.
[LC]: Yamamoto asks the very question that we all have. And the answer is nothing if pragmatic. Would Earth have risked sending a ship into the heart of the enemy’s territory on the possibility of obtaining salvation? Would they even believe in the offer of a planet that neighbors their enemy? Or would they have taken the path of the Izumo plan instead?
[DG]: I can’t help but wonder if Akira’s tone towards Yurisha has something to do with her looking a lot like her love rival.
Yurisha’s tone here is rather juvenile, I found. Actually, for much of these four episodes of the series where she’s present in her own body, I had a hard time identifying whether her behavior is a result of being isolated from others, trying too hard to fit in, or being younger than she looks (that thought largely stemmed from Mio/Sasha in Be Forever Yamato, who appeared to physically age 18 years in only one).
However, there is wisdom in her words, nonetheless. It’s an interesting question as to whether they’d have gone had they known. Had Serizawa been in charge of the Yamato Project, then heck yes, they’d have made a beeline for Garmillas, blown it up with the Wave-Motion Gun. Then, of course, Iscandar would probably have refused to turn over the Cosmo Reverse System and doomed humanity to extinction.
Yurisha seems a lot more mature in her behavior when she arrives at Iscandar. Maybe its just her way of making herself less god-like among those that might see her as such. It may also be a byproduct of her special abilities, which I’m ever more certain are exclusive to her. Perhaps she’s more of an empath than a telepath, in that she simply relates to those around her. Starsha doesn’t seem to have any of these abilities, as we’ll see later.
During all this, Kodai has been standing on the rear observation deck, alone with his thoughts. Shima joins his friend and the two look out to the stars. Picking up the same discussion thread, Shima wonder what they would have done if they had known what they know now. Would they have maintained their desire to reach Iscandar? Shima says he believes they made it this far because they didn’t know, but the revelation that Iscandar and Garmillas are neighbors surprised him. He says Melda believes Yuki is on their home planet and probably being treated well. Kodai breaks his silence, clenching his fists, stating that’s probably true but only if they still believe her to be Yurisha. Shima is startled by this realization.
[LC]: Another example of animation economy. They manage to burn 22 seconds of running time with only four static shots of Kodai and Shima and their shadows. The first actual movement in the scene is when Shima turns to Kodai to convey his belief that Yuki is okay. Even after that, economy is the word as all we see is another shot of Kodai’s legs and his clenched fist, the only thing that moves, followed by Shima’s face reacting to Kodai’s terrible realization. The grand total of the scene is 35 seconds, all done with minimum animation.
At that very moment, Yuki is inside a Garmillan limousine, driven by Norran to her assigned quarters outside the city. She looks out the window at the large blue orb above Baleras, commenting on how big and beautiful Garmillas’ moon is. Without missing a single beat, Norran tells her that’s not the moon and asks her if she doesn’t know that it is in fact Iscandar. The revelation hits her, as well as the fact Norran obviously knew she wasn’t Yurisha before she gave herself away.
[LC]: I like the way this bit was handled because it rings true. Yuki tries her best to keep up the appearance of being Yurisha but her efforts are wrecked by her ignorance of what should be simple facts. We saw Norran’s reaction in the previous episode when she asked him if he was a Garmillan. My guess is that’s when he first realized he and his comrades from the 442nd Special Platoon had grabbed the wrong person.
Any doubts were dismissed here. Yurisha would know that the “moon” above Baleras is Iscandar, her home. This is actually quite clever. Not only is it a simple way for Norran to get to the truth, it also lines up with the current theme aboard Yamato in that they just recently found out what Yuki now knows. Good to see some details escaping the turmoil of the screwed-up timeline. It’s also quite nice that they do it without a single line of dialogue. Norran makes the reveal about Iscandar and Yuki just knows she gave herself away.
After a brief moment of uncomfortable silence, she asks him when he figured her out. He says he wasn’t completely sure until just now. Yuki asks what he will do and Norran simply states his duty is to protect her.
[LC]: I’m a bit ambivalent about Norran not reporting this. On the one hand, he’s been set up for it from the start, ever since Raitsch told him not to fall in love with the pretty hologram before him. You just knew, right then and there, that he would. That she went out of her way to protect him at Leptapoda only reinforced that. He was hooked, even if he already suspected she wasn’t the real deal. But on the other hand, he’s a loyal soldier who would do anything for Garmillas. Come on, he broke out in song when his loyalty and that of his comrades was questioned. In the end his crush on Yuki, coupled with not wanting to taint his comrades, memory with failure, tips the scales in her favor.
They arrive at a cube-shaped house in the middle of a large garden. Norran is startled when he sees another, mauve-colored limousine parked outside. As they set down along side it, Celestella steps out.
[LC]: Then we have this bee-otch who will give Yuki up faster that you can say sycophant.
[DG]: Seriously, what’s with Celestella’s overly-dramatic Dracula-style sweep of her cape? Is it some kind of Alpha Female thing?
Exactly what I always think when I see this bit. I can almost hear her say “I vant yer blod!” (sorry for the terrible Transylvanian accent).
Also… this is a weird-ass house. I mean, we’ve seen that not all buildings on Garmillas are mushroom-shaped. Domel’s house is a fine example. But this looks way out of place, not just for its clean shape but also its color. Is it possible this is Celestella’s house? It sure fits.
Minutes later, the two women are inside sitting at a table. Hilde Shultz has been assigned as Yuki’s maid and serves them tea. She’s startled and embarrassed when Yuki, who she believes to be an Iscandarian princess, thanks her. Celestella tells the young girl she can leave, which she does with the recurring bow and Iscandarian compliment.
[LC]: Oh, look… the most over-rated tertiary character EVER!!! Do you still remember the time when we all thought that she would have some sort of important role in 2199? Spoiler alert, this is pretty much it. Other than making Hyss look good in the next episode, this is basically the extent of Hilde’s role in the series. For the amount of merchandise they released featuring her, you’d think she would be another Melda. But no. #missedoportunitiesforcharadevelopment
Celestella says that Hilde is the same race as the boy outside. As Yuki looks out the window at Norran, Celestella tells her Hilde’s father was killed in battle against a barbarian ship which she believes is called Yamato. Yuki is startled at the mention of her ship.
[LC]: Yuki must be a terrible poker player. This right here must have been enough for Celestella to confirm her suspicions. My main problem with this is that she’s supposed to be some sort of telepath; later we’ll see Jirellians mess with people’s minds on a big scale. Even without some uber-technological device to help her, shouldn’t she be able to at least have a peek inside Yuki’s mind across the table? A lot faster than all this talk about tea.
Unfazed, Celestella continues, saying she wasn’t born on Garmillas either. But both she and Hilde are Garmillans. She sips her tea and asks Yuki if she knows who she is. With her best straight face, Yuki responds she is Yurisha of Iscandar. Coldly, Celestella says that she is not. Yuki feels her farce has come to an end until Celestella continues, saying that now she is Yurisha of Garmillas. A bird in a cage. A mere pawn to be used against Iscandar.
She recites Queen Starsha’s creed, about the salvation of all intelligent life in the universe, dismissing Starsha’s “little speech” as something that is easy to say by someone who does nothing but test others. She proceeds, stating Dessler is different. (We see Dessler opening his blue bird’s cage.) She claims he is trying to build a civilization that spans galaxies, unlike “that woman, who refuses to even dirty her own hands.” She says eternal peace can only be possible under imperial protection. That is true salvation and Dessler can make it a reality. (The bird looks at Dessler as he reaches out to him.)
[LC]: Meow. You can tell that putting Celestella and Starsha in the same room would not be pretty.
[DG]: I know I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Celestella is an anomaly in the Nazi metaphor that Garmillas represents. Ark of the Stars especially paints the Jirellians as the Romany (Gypsy) analogy of the Nazi Germany metaphor. And her role is that of one of the most hardline Aryan Superiority advocates, Josef Goebbels – except in this case, she’s the one most stoic in her belief in Dessler trying to bring peace through tyranny.
I agree, but given what we learn next about her backstory, it’s easy to see why she is so devoted to him. She’s a kid, a member of a despised quasi-extinct race, and gets thrown into a prison cell. Then this larger than life figure swoops in, “rescues” her and takes her under his wing. The outcome isn’t unexpected.
There’s a moment of silence as Yuki reflects on Celestella’s bit of propaganda. Celestella asks her about her brief stop at the prison planet, which Yuki describes as horrible. She’s surprised when Celestella reveals to her that she was once a prisoner there, simply because she wasn’t Garmillan. But Dessler himself released her and Mirenel, even being from another race.
[LC]: This flashback scene looks good. Maybe because it was one of the few where Nobuteru Yuuki came in to do key frames. And it shows. His art immediately elevates the quality of the work.
This scene itself puts Celestella’s supposed mental abilities into question. If she has such power, wouldn’t she simply look inside Yuki’s mind? Or are Iscandarians impervious to her abilities? Sure Yuki isn’t an Iscandarian, but she had a certain degree of mind contact with Yurisha. Not as much as Misaki, but Yurisha was in her head back in Episode 14. Could it simply be a case of Celestella trying to take a peek and not being capable because of Yurisha’s previous presence? Or did she manage to probe more than she could with a true Iscandarian? Truth is, these questions are never actually answered or even hinted at, so we have no way of knowing. Assumptions are all we have at this point. From the episode itself all we can infer is that she figured Yuki out much in the same way Norran did.
Yuki asks her if she loves Dessler, causing Celestella to break out laughing. She apologizes, saying that it was an odd question to hear from an Iscandarian princess. She takes a moment, repeating Yuki’s question and sipping her tea. She doesn’t answer the question, changing the subject to how good that tea is, the best from planet Melan. She tells Yuki to drink it before it gets cold.
[LC]: I do wonder why Dessler did this. Was he after the Jirellians’ fabled abilities? It’s quite possible, but since we haven’t seen Celestella make use of those abilities in his service (and the one time Mirenel used them was with some uber-technology backing her up) it’s highly doubtful. Could it be he was after Shambleau wanted to have a member of the Jirellian race by his side, just in case he found it?
Yuki looks at the woman before her, uncertain what to make of her and her motives. Has she also figured out that she is not Yurisha and is now just toying with her? And if not, what plans do she and her master have in store? In Dessler’s quarters, the bird cage remains open in the darkened room. On the floor lies the lifeless body of the small blue bird.
[LC]: Now, there’s a sign someone is going nuts…
Note: No live animated birds were injured or killed in the making of this scene. The bird seen here was already dead when drawn. XD
[DG]: So what exactly happened to the bird? Did Dessler kill it? Did it just die at a convenient time? Had it been in the cage so long it had forgotten how to fly? The whole thing seems rather symbolic of the idea of freedom being dangerous.
I think it’s implied that Dessler killed it. Coupled to the fact – which we’ll learn later – that the bird is from Iscandar, it might symbolize Dessler’s decision to stop playing nice and take what he wants from Starsha. She has kept him waiting for too long and he’s not having it anymore.
Morning in Baleras. The city is bright in the sunlight as the echo of bells fills the air. Deep within the massive structure of Dessler’s palace tower, Celestella guides Yuki through the labyrinthine halls, followed closely by Norran and Hilde. She tells her they will be attending General Domel’s memorial ceremony. Yuki’s attention is caught by the massive spire within the tower’s central shaft. The gargantuan structure seems somewhat out of place, as if it doesn’t really belong there. It’s dark blue, contrasting with the gray and green from the palace walls.
[LC]: Though quite obscured, eagle-eyed viewers will immediately recognize this structure in the middle of Dessler’s tower as the command ship he used in the last episode of the original series. Volume 2 of the “Hyper Mechanical Detail Art” books shows how much work went into even this very obscured shot. The character animation may be in dire shape, but the detail-up mecha shots haven’t lost a beat. (click the image for a better view)
Dessler and his command staff are assembled, listening to a report from Goer through the hyperspace channel. True to himself, the always-loud buffoon lays it in thick, describing how his invincible fleet of 3,000 ships continues on course straight to Garmillas. But it will still take them a minimum of two months to get there.
[LC]: Oh, great, this guy’s still alive.
From Goer’s statement, we can assume a total of one month has passed since the start of Episode 19. At that time, the fleet was three months out. Of course, given how 2199 treats its timeline, this is nearly irrelevant and should be taken with a grain of salt.
[DG]: It could be that estimates have been blown out due to gross managerial incompetence. After all, Goer’s in charge. The three-month estimate was probably made with the assumption of someone competent being in command. Given that the Balun > Magellanic Cloud gate was destroyed by Yamato in mid-May and it’s now mid-July, that means the initial three-month estimate stated in Episode 19 has blown out by a month. Not surprising, really.
Of course, this could in fact be the first real hint of the major blunder with the timeline, which will be explained in a future episode’s commentary.
Goer turns up the brown nosing, telling Dessler they are working night and day to see him as soon as possible. At the limit of his patience, Dessler interrupts him, saying that’s enough and for him to just do his best. Goer seems to take this as a vote of confidence and smiles as he signs off.
[LC]: This has to be said about Goer: at least he’s consistent. Unfortunately, what he’s most consistent at is being annoying. And Dessler seems really fed up with him.
They proceed with the analysis of their current tactical situation. Yamato is about to enter their last line of defense as they make their approach to the Salezar System. Mardo Vutter says he’s been told Yamato has a gun with the power to destroy planets. Talan points out that the main question is how they can react, since their defense fleets are almost entirely absent. Gimleh claims there’s no need for worry as he has held a powerful fleet in reserve. Defense of the home planet will be assured by the Imperial Guard instead of the army, an idea that doesn’t appear to sit well with all in attendance, though no one speaks out.
[LC]: I really don’t know where this idea came from. So far, the Wave-Motion Gun was used to destroy the floating continent, blast a hole in a solar flare and across the dimensional boundary layer, and to destroy Balun’s power core. No planets per se have been destroyed. Balun suffered major damage but that’s more due to the fact that the device that kept it whole was destroyed. Sure, a powerful weapon it is. I’m sure any planet hit by it would be left with at least a nasty scar. But nothing the Garmillas have seen until now would make them jump to the conclusion that it can blow whole planets apart.
[DG]: Maybe they’re taking it from Balun’s destruction. Of course, it’s hardly new for people in military circles to exaggerate how powerful a weapon is, and truth be told we haven’t seen the effect of the Wave-Motion Gun on a planet’s core.
That’s my point. Yes, Balun was destroyed. But Balun was an artificial construct supported by the Akerian power plant at its center. The Wave-Motion Gun destroyed that, which in turn caused the massive explosion that took out most of the planet and surrounding fleet. It’s like throwing a match into a powder keg. Granted, it’s one hell of a powerful match, but it was the “keg” going boom that did most of the damage. I’m sure they know that’s what actually happened so such hyperbole seems unwarranted.
Celestella calls Dessler’s attention to another matter. She tells him that the girl they’re holding is not actually Yurisha but rather a Terron. A shocked Hyss asks her if she’s certain, to which Celestella elusively says she caught a glimpse of something. Gimleh calls Celestella a witch.
[LC]: From such a sneaky, surreptitious bastard like Gimleh, this almost sounds like a joke. And a recurring one at that, if I recall correctly, as he has blatantly called her witch on at least another occasion. Strangely enough, Celestella doesn’t seem bothered in the least. Either that or she’s biding her time until she can kill Gimleh with her mind.
Surprisingly, Dessler himself seems unfazed by this turn of events. He asks his council if any take issue with this. No one raises any questions, leading Dessler to say that whether she is the real Yurisha or not is irrelevant. As long as the people believe her to be Yurisha and that she has approved the great unification, that is all that matters. Hyss promptly agrees with him. Dessler then says it’s time for the ceremony.
[LC]: From his non-reaction, it does seems Dessler saw through Yuki’s ruse on the spot. Either that or he has the best poker face in the universe. Unlike Yuki’s, which we have established is quite terrible. It seems the only reason he allowed the farce to continue is that it really doesn’t matter that she’s not Yurisha. As long as the people believe it, his plans can proceed. And that’s all he needs. Lucky Yuki.
[DG]: I’m inclined to think the former. Dessler knows Starsha pretty well, I’d say there’s a 50/50 chance he has met Yurisha before, so it stands to reason he’d know it wasn’t her on the spot. The more interesting thing for me here is that Celestella is implying that she does have some of the mystic Jirellian ESP powers.
Which brings us back to the comment I made earlier. We know she does have some degree of ESP. We will soon see it at work. But it seems to be emotionally driven, rather than something she can use at will. The two instances where we see active use of these powers by Jirellians are in Episode 14 and Ark of the Stars, but both involve some sort of Akerian/Jirellian tech. Either Jirellians are not the mind readers they are fabled to be, or Celestella is just not as gifted as Mirenel or Lerelai. Otherwise she would have read Yuki like an open book. She seems to have “simply” deduced her identity much like Norran, more from Yuki slipping up in conversational details or body language cues.
The great avenue leading to Dessler’s palace is filled with people mourning General Domel, listening attentively as Dessler gives praise to Garmillas’ greatest military hero. He describes Domel as a hero to the people and a dear friend whose loss tears at his heart, in the same way that he believes it does to his beloved citizens.
Sadness will not bring him back, and there is but one thing that can fill the void left behind. Everyone waits attentively to know what it is. Dessler says that thing is hope. Hope will heal their sadness and guide the way to their future.
[LC]: Dessler doesn’t seem to be the sort of person that has close friends, at least not in the same way any of us do. Domel seemed to be as close as as it gets, at least from the few short interactions we saw. And yet Dessler has no qualms in exploiting his death to get what he wants from his people. In all honesty, the people seem to be more shaken up by Domel’s death than Dessler or even the Talan brothers. Dessler truly is a heartless bastard at this point.
Nice callbacks to previous episodes, mainly Episode 12. We see the young girl who gave Domel a bouquet during his welcome back parade and the two boys who played with his rokrohk when he was walking in the park with Eliza. Aside the usual trope of these characters wearing the same clothes they did back then – as most animated characters usually do – another thing always comes to mind. Using the same clothes is usual fare… but why is that girl always holding a flower bouquet every time we see her?! Can’t they draw her without it?! Judging from the quality of the animators in this episode, probably not. They must have looked at her character design from Episode 12 and just reused it. Okay, too mean, I know. But let me vent now, as the worst is about to come and it’s not even animation-related.
As Dessler continues his speech, Celestella asks Ghader Talan of the whereabouts of his brother, Velte, who is conspicuously absent from his dear friend’s memorial. Ghader tells her Dessler sent Velte on a mission elsewhere. Gimleh takes the opportunity to be nasty, saying that it’s pity Velte had to miss this event, being such a good friend of Domel. Ghader frowns at the poisonous remark but keeps quiet.
[LC]: This is a good question. For Velte to miss the ceremony in honor of his friend, something truly important must have come up. Fortunately, this is a plot thread they actually followed through with.
[LC]: Nice bit of animation on Ghader, here. He truly looks like someone who’d like nothing more than to tell Gimleh to get stuffed. Fortunately, he’s a cool-headed man who knows how to stay composed, even in the presence of a major…
Dessler continues his speech, telling his people he will give them the hope they need. The dream of their people, their great destiny and hope, the unification of Garmillas and Iscandar. In the distant past, their people were divided in two but the time has come to become one again. Everyone looks at Dessler’s imposing holograms with a mix of joy and disbelief. How could he do such a thing?
[LC]: I have to admit I never got what Dessler’s unification is all about. He builds a huge city in space and, apparently, plans to move his seat of power there. From what we’ve seen so far and in the following episode, that doesn’t mean taking the people of Baleras with him. So how did he sell the idea? And why are they moving at all?! We’ve been given small hints that something must be wrong with Garmillas. We’ve seen characters mention “how bad the air” in Baleras is, and even Dessler questioning why he’s holding onto this world. Is Garmillas on the verge of environmental collapse or some other world-changing disaster?
Or is this unification more of a political move? He wants to move on Iscandar but is prevented by the quasi-religious view of the Garmillans towards their blue neighbor. Having Yurisha approving his move prevents upheaval. Whatever the plan is, we just never get anything out of this. They gave us enough to kind of justify Dessler’s actions without actually telling us anything.
This to me appears to be Dessler fulfilling the charismatic Nazi dictator analogy.
Dessler plays his trump card, revealing that Yurisha, the Third Princess of Iscandar, has approved the unification. At the mention of Yurisha’s name, a pair of beautiful hazel eyes stares at the images of her being escorted to Dessler’s side. It’s Starsha herself, watching the Garmillan broadcast from her palace, located in the sparkling blue orb in the skies above Baleras.
[LC]: Finally, Starsha herself appears in 2199. Nice that they used the same set as the original. Glad that, despite another sequence of poor animation, at least the Queen herself is well drawn.
A question I keep asking myself is… Would Starsha know that’s not her sister? We’ve seen Yurisha display some uber ESP abilities, going as far as just knowing that Yuki was on Leptapoda. Supposedly, Starsha should have similar abilities, probably even more powerful. As such, she should immediately realize that is not Yurisha. And yet…that doesn’t seem to be the case. Is Yurisha a freak of nature and the only sister gifted with such abilities?
[DG]: Then again, she thinks Yuki is Sasha later, on Iscandar. Maybe she’s got bad eyesight.
Maybe. Or just the plot reusing the annoying “Yuki looks like everyone” shtick. At best it seems to prove what I said. Starsha lacks whatever ability Yurisha has to “feel” people across space.
Yuki takes her assigned place by Dessler’s side, the thunderous applause of the people of Garmillas echoing in the morning air. Dessler calls upon his people to move forward to their hope, the great unification. To move forward with the endless march of Garmillas toward a bright future, for that is what his friend Domel would have desired.
Yuki looks rather zoned out.
[LC]: She probably can’t believe how badly drawn she is.
The command staff stands up and salutes. Along with the people they cry out “Ghare Garmillon! Ghare Iscandar! Ghare Dessler! Ghare Fuzeron!” The popular fervor rises with each salute. Yuki looks at all this in terrified silence.
[LC]: But seriously, the reality of her dreadful situation must have just hit her. She’s on the enemy’s home planet, pretending to be an alien princess and being used as a pretend supporter for an egomaniacal dictator’s invasion plan of the one planet that can save her own world. That’s a big pill to swallow. Also, given how smart Yuki seems to be, the fact that she’s probably been outed as a Terron must have already have crossed her mind. And she must know that her life is depends on her participation in this charade.
Kodai and the command staff are gathered in preparation for their arrival at the Salezar System. Kodai tells Nanbu he cannot agree to the last part of his proposed strategy, a plan to rescue Yuki. Nanbu can’t believe in what he’s hearing, asking Kodai if he’s kidding, but Kodai responds that he can’t permit it.
He defends his position, stating Yamato’s goal is Iscandar, not Garmillas. A furious Nanbu protests once more, asking what will happen to Yuki and if they’re supposed to just let her die. Kodai holds his composure, tightening his lips…
[DG]: Was I the only one thinking Kodai needed a good clip across the ear here? I mean I know what he’s doing, I know why he thinks he’s doing it, but still…
[LC]: Come on, give the kid a break. He saw the girl he still-doesn’t-know-he-loves being taken right in front of him, not once but twice. Now he knows exactly where she is and is well aware that she’s on borrowed time. Problem is, she’s smack in the middle of the enemy stronghold. What’s he supposed to do? Risk the mission and Earth’s future on a rescue mission that would plunge them into the heart of the enemy, and risk everything to rescue a single crew member? Even if he’s in love with her, he knows he can’t do that. I would hate to be in his shoes, but he’s making the right call based on the available intel.
A nice touch that Sanada looks at Kodai, knowing the conflict he’s feeling. He looks proud of his best friend’s younger brother.
Kato cools things down, saying Garmillas is right next to Iscandar so Kodai has time to rethink his decision. Kodai looks down, clenching his fists. His stress is noticed by Niimi who realizes he’s obviously conflicted between what he wants to do and what the mission requires of him.
[LC]: Here’s an interesting character development. Kato being the cool headed voice of reason. There was a time where he’d simply slap the crap out of someone or punch the nearest locker. Makoto’s influence has been good for him. XD
Niimi mirrors Sanada’s earlier look, although they drew her kind of sneaky. Guess they just got used to drawing her that way during her time as an Izumo operative. Much like Sanada, the elder Kodai must also be on her mind.
Okita is being checked out by Dr. Sado in his cabin. Sado doesn’t have good news but Okita says he’s well aware of what he’s going to tell him. But they’ve made it this far. Sado cheers up with the captain’s positive outlook, but Makoto is less than happy, pressing the medical kit against her chest to keep her from crying.
[LC]: The dialogue between Okita and Sado hints that the captain is in bad shape. The really big hint comes from Makoto’s body language. The way she holds that bag so tight and her expression… she must be on the verge of tears. Not good news for Okita.
In the mess hall, crew members are discussing the recent events. Some don’t like the fact that they’re working with Dietz’s faction, even if they’re rebelling against their own government, and they wonder what the command staff was thinking. Miyazawa asks if Melda isn’t an ally, but Obama says she’s being naive. He proposes the possibility that Iscandar and Garmillas are working together to trick them, which Hayashi reluctantly accepts as a possibility. The conversation is cut short as Yamamoto, Yurisha and Melda walk in and get in line at the O.M.C.S., with Yurisha immediately pointing to that day’s special: Magellan Parfait.
[LC]: This scene is another fine example of economy of animation. We basically see a few cups and the hands of the people talking, with most of the “action” going on on the blurred background. Curiously enough, this is the second scene in the episode where Nobuteru Yuuki did key frame animation. Those people in the background may be blurry or hidden but they were all drawn by the master himself.
Though I named them in the above text, those names were simply a best guess based on the characters listed in the end credits and a good ear for character voices. So if you don’t agree with the names, cut me some slack. XD
Kato is taking in what Makoto just told him concerning the captain’s condition. He can hardly believe how bad the captain’s doing. Worried she has revealed too much, Makoto tells him she has a duty of confidentiality and begs him not to tell anyone. Kato reassures her he’s well aware of that.
[LC]: Nobuteru Yuuki’s work continues in this sequence. The characters might seem to stray from his usual design, but I think that’s purposeful. The scene is meant to be lighthearted and feature exaggerated cartoon motion, so he must have adjusted accordingly.
Kato’s straight face falls off as a voice from behind him calls him Sabu-chan, like Makoto just did. He jumps off his seat when he looks back to find Yamamoto and company standing right next to him. She jokingly tells him they’ll keep the confidentiality, too.
[LC]: This, right here… best comedy scene in the whole series. Yep, in this godawful episode they managed to pull it off. Yuuki’s key art was just spot on. Click here for a few highlights of his art in these scenes.
[DG]: This scene felt like it took place in a high school cafeteria. It offered a rare opportunity in a space opera for young people to act like young people. We get plenty of that in this scene.
Trying to set the record straight, Kato does even worse, telling Yamamoto not to get the wrong idea. This prompts a reaction from Makoto asking him if that’s what he truly thinks. Kato is at a total loss for words at this point. XD
[LC]: Poor Kato, he can’t catch a break… XD
Eating her parfait, Yamamoto comments on Makoto’s nickname for Kato. Melda looks at her, totally oblivious to what’s going on. Yurisha asks Yamamoto if she doesn’t have someone like that, someone special. Yamamoto is unwilling to answer but can’t help but feel curious when Yurisha says she does. Melda flat out asks her if it’s Kodai. Yamamoto says there’s not a chance of that but…if not Kodai, who is it? Yurisha simply says they aren’t there, leading Yamamoto to conclude “they” are on Iscandar. Melda cautions her as that it’s rude to ask so many questions.
[DG]: Oh, this conversation between Melda, Akira, and Yurisha. Where to start? Is Melda mentioning Kodai because his name is the only one of the male crew she knows? Akira certainly is trying her best to rule out even the idea of more competition for Kodai (even though she appears to have given up on him by now), and Yurisha’s response is the most surprising. My interpretation was that her important person was Yuki. Interesting that the line is “they” and not “he”. After all, what “he” is there? We know that there’s no guy on Iscandar waiting for her…
Yurisha asks Melda if she won’t eat her parfait, and that it’s very good. A visibly uncomfortable Melda looks at the ice cream before her, asking Yamamoto if she is sure that is food.
[LC]: Yep, whichever way you look at the Yurisha-related dialogue in this scene, it ends up making no sense at all. Of course we can say this with the benefit of hindsight, having seen the whole series, but that’s the point of this commentary. All the dialogue by Yurisha ends up having absolutely no meaning. It has no further payoff, besides existing in the small vacuum of this scene. As you said, there’s no one waiting on Iscandar. The Yuki angle could work, but she knows Yuki is on Garmillas, so it’s not her… but if it was, what would it mean? Could Yurisha have a crush on Yuki?
Putting that aside, what else could it be? The only theories I can come up with are metaphysical at best. It could be someone’s soul, stored somewhere. If you haven’t seen 2199 all the way through, yes, that’s a thing. Or maybe Yurisha’s unique ability is so in tune with the universe that she can actually communicate with “the other side”, and therefore with all the people “on the planet.” That’s the only way the “waiting on Iscandar” thing makes sense. Whatever it is, in the end they didn’t follow through with it so… yeah. As bad as the animation in the episode is, this right here is my personal pick for worst thing in Episode 22.
Yamamoto tells her it’s a Magellan Parfait, a popular dessert on board. She stares at it for a few more seconds, unsure what to think of it. It isn’t until Yurisha asks her with a sad face if she won’t eat it that the Garmillan ace steps forward to the challenge before her. She takes a piece of the parfait and fearfully places the spoon in her mouth. Her eyes open wide from the sensorial assault she’s feeling.
[DG]: And now I must do a small amount of bragging. While in Japan for Chapter 7 back in 2013, I actually had the opportunity to sample a real Magellan Parfait – something very close to what is depicted here! Overall it was very tasty, although there was one part of it (I’m thinking bitter orange) that really didn’t grab my taste buds favorably.
Amused by her peer’s awkwardness and reaction to something so mundane, Yamamoto asks Melda if she likes it. Melda says she can’t believe such a thing existed in this universe and she’s very moved. She proceeds to scarf down the parfait. With a grin in her face, Yamamoto tells Melda she got some on her cheek, which Melda promptly wipes.
[DG]: And apparently Garmillans don’t have opportunity to develop a sweet tooth. This could be a very interesting development in negotiating peace or even establishing trade with Garmillas. I can see the headline now: “Earth today signed a deal to ship 22,000,000,000 units of Magellan Parfaits to Garmillas over the next two Earth years”.
[LC]: Oh, the reaction Melda has to the parfait is priceless. And oh… so relatable.
For all the flack I’ve given this episode for how bad it is in many aspects, I do admit it still has some great moments. The comedic tones in these scenes are very well done and some of the main plot’s developments are a welcome step forward toward Iscandar. Pity all these good aspects end up being negated by the sloppy animation and some other silly plot points.
Recovered from the emotional roller-coaster, Melda asks Yamamoto if she requested that other thing. with a big smile on her face, Yamamoto says she did. The “other thing” was asking Chief Enomoto and his men to paint the Czvarke’s body red. At that moment, the men look at the finished paint job with Ayuto saying Melda insisted on that color. Enomoto just replies he doesn’t understand women.
[DG]: Of course it has to be red. Melda wasn’t going to be flying a standard color Czvarke! That would have lowered her survivability rating to dangerous levels!
Melda is getting quite upset at how much Yamamoto is laughing at her expense. Anger turns to embarrassment when Yurisha tells her she’s cute. She promptly stands up and tells Yurisha she honors her with such a compliment. She is less than pleased when Yamamoto also says she is indeed cute.
Yamamoto gets back to the topic of Yurisha’s special someone, pissing Melda off for suddenly ignoring her. She asks Yurisha if it’s true she has someone waiting for her on Iscandar. In her usual elusive way, Yurisha simply states that when she gets back, there is something she must tell them. Yamamoto takes this as meaning Yurisha will confess her love to that someone. Melda cuts her off, as she feels Yamamoto is being too nosy. Yurisha says that it’s not her decision.
[DG]: This line from Yurisha still makes me think that Yuki is the one she’s thinking of. She wants to tell her something, perhaps about her past. My guess is she’s agonizing over whether to tell Yuki something that could break her. We know from the interview with Yamato 2202 series writer Harutoshi Fukui that Yuki’s memory loss still needs to be resolved.
In hangar two, Kodai is going over Nanbu’s proposed Yuki rescue plan, unsure of what to do about it. As he stares at the tablet in his hand, Sanada announces that the ship will warp at 1100. He tells the crew to stand by in type-2 space gear. Kodai keeps looking at the screen, the angst growing inside him. Nanbu is about to enter the hangar when a loud banging sound makes him stop in his tracks. He looks inside, seeing Kodai, his fist slammed against one of the hangar’s support beams.
[LC]: A nice scene where we see Kodai’s conflict between feelings and duty. We’ve seen that fist being clenched a couple of times in this episode and it just had to hit something… or someone. Fortunately for Nanbu, he arrived after that pent up energy has been released. XD.
I like to believe that, upon seeing this, Nanbu finally gets how difficult it was for Kodai not to go ahead with his plan.
Baleras II. The massive space city floats imposingly between Garmillas and Iscandar. It is here that we find Velte Talan, reporting to Lord Dessler on the current condition of the city’s systems. He reports one in particular is currently at 80% functionality and that he believes it’s still a bit early to use it. Dessler says he doesn’t care, as long as they are able to use it.
[DG]: Yutaka Izubuchi invokes Director’s Privilege to bring one of his unused Yamato III designs to life in 2199. Baleras was originally designed as a concept for Planet Galman.
[LC]: We saw a bit of Baleras II in Episode 19 but here we see the true scope of the gargantuan structure. Truly a city in space. I wonder if this is an underhanded way of telling us Gatlantis is far from impossible.
Also… if Dessler knows of Gatlantis’ existence (the comet city) since it’s obvious they’re well aware of the civilization – could that have inspired him to create Baleras II? Is it possible that besides being an instrument of unification with Iscandar, Baleras II would also serve to repel a possible direct attack by the white comet? No such thing is even hinted at in 2199, but with 2202 just around the bend, its nice to speculate. If that was indeed a possible role for Baleras II, its upcoming demise may have been the first chink in Garmillas’ armor in the upcoming war.
Talan asks if he may speak freely and voices concerns that the facility was meant for when they moved the capital. It wasn’t intended for use against Yamato. With Yuki looking over his shoulder, Dessler reiterates that he doesn’t care. As a dutiful officer, Talan accepts his lord’s decision and salutes him before disconnecting.
[LC]: In hindsight, and knowing Talan is referring to Baleras II’s Dessler Cannon, what role could such a thing have in moving the city? Is Talan simply referring to the reverse engineered Wave-Motion cores that power it? In case you’ve missed them, they’re the large devices on either side of Talan in the image above.
Judging from the sheer size of the cores in that generating area, Garmillas has a long way to go in terms of reducing those things down to a manageable size without compromising the energy output. This also leads us to an earlier question of where would Earth obtain more Wave-Motion cores to power Andromeda and its increasing fleet. If Garmillas could build their own, even if rather large, imagine what Sanada can do once he gets back to Earth. XD
Yuki is relieved to learn Yamato is safe and on its way there. Dessler seems to feel her hopes and says Yamato has come a long, long way. He must greet them properly and she may stay there and watch. Yuki asks him what is about to happen. Dessler turns his head to look into her eyes. His response is as simple and cold as his gaze. “A war.”
[LC]: There goes Yuki’s poker face when she learns Yamato is still around. Sure, having spent time with the Terrons, Yurisha might also express happiness in learning of their continued well being. But not that much. Guess that’s the joy you feel, not just from learning that your friends are still alive, but that the hope you had lost of being rescued is still alive. Glad she doesn’t know Kodai axed that particular plan… XD
Now THIS is pure Dessler. About time we saw this badass back in action, instead of the pseudo-emo he seems to be lately.
On Yamato, Okita addresses the crew over the PA, telling them that Earth is now 160,000 light years behind them but that is just a number. The Earth is right behind them, awaiting their return. Throughout the ship, the crew listens attentively to the captain’s inspired words and the notion that they are close to reaching their goal.
[DG]: Okita’s illness this time isn’t so bad that he has to discharge his duties to Sanada – he’s taking command at the critical moment again.
His words here are interesting. If he’s speaking in absolutes, then they’re only 8,000 light-years from their destination. This sets a limit on their maximum warp distance of 8,000 light-years. This in turn suggests that the Rainbow Cluster is farther than this in diameter, otherwise they could have actually warped around it. Since maximum warp range has never been established literally, it makes it an interesting point of discussion.
Okita says that they will soon reach the Salezar System, where Iscandar is located. But the enemy’s home planet is there, as well. So it’s both their goal and also enemy territory. But they will choose the path that leads to Iscandar, for that is where hope lies. And because Earth is behind them, awaiting their return with that hope.
[LC]: Something I only noticed when going through these group shots was that only the lead staff from each section has their space suits in their section’s color, not to mention the different color pattern. The remaining staff wears standard space suits in orange with white shoulder pads and black trim. Curious how this detail escaped me until now.
Mikage Kiryu continues to pop up now and then. You may have also spotted her passing in the background of the mess hall scene.
Here we see Hoshina is still in the hospital ward and still bandaged. His injury must have been more serious than it appeared.
Doctor Sado seems to be getting ready for a fight. Just love him here.
Yamato will now enter its last major warp of their long journey to Iscandar. All crew are to prepare for it, maintaining combat status 1. The bridge crew salutes Okita and throughout the ship, everyone scrambles to their posts.
[LC]: A small continuity detail should be noted. None of the guys that joined the Izumo mutiny are seen in these group shots. That could easily have been messed up. Where this is more noticeable is in the engine room staff, which were the only ones we actually saw along with the security staff.
Though their purpose is not to fight, they must be ready for it if it comes. All weapon systems are prepped and the Falcons are manned by Kato and his pilots, as well as Yamamoto in the Cosmo Zero Alpha 2.
[LC]: This shot of Kato and his men swimming to their planes is awesome. Kato’s statement early in the trip that having no gravity in the hangar made their life easier is so true in this scene…
Yamato’s main engine roars as the mighty battleship speeds forward. Okita gives the order and, like so many times before, Yamato breaks the dimensional barrier and warps.
[LC]: Of the several warps we’ve seen Yamato perform at high speed, this one seems the most energetic. It’s as if the ship knows it’s about to reach its destination and just wants to get there. I do continue to ask… why this supposed acceleration run when we’ve seen Yamato warp without doing this, at least a few times?
Melda’s coolness factor is increased tremendously by the fact that she just stands there, all stoic, while most people on board are securely fastened to their seats. How badass is this girl?
A large ringed planet floats peacefully through space, illuminated by the Salezar star. This peace is disturbed by the bright flash of light caused by Yamato’s arrival. The battleship flies calmly under the planet’s rings as the crew gazes upon the gas giant. Melda identifies it as Epidora, the fifth planet in the Salezar System.
[LC]: It might just be the lighting in the shot but Salezar seems to be a red or orange star.
Epidora is the first and (so far) only “extra” planet in the system to be shown, both in 2199 and the original.
Ota reports the existence of a twin planet in the system’s fourth orbit. Okita has the image relayed to the main video panel. Before their eyes lie two shimmering orbs. One is deep blue, with only a few stretches of land breaking its watery surface. The other is bright green, its surface broken by gaping holes of green and yellow.
[LC]: From Ota’s statement we can assume there are at least three other planets in closer orbit to Salezar.
There’s a bit of a language error in this scene. Epidora is stated by Melda to be the fifth planet. When reporting Iscandar and Garmillas’ position, Ota uses the term “fourth orbit.” Assuming there are no other twins in the Salezar system, this would imply that they are planets 4 and 5, so Epidora should be the sixth planet. So, unless Garmillas and Iscandar consider their twin worlds to be a single entity, Melda’s statement is off.
Looking at the blue planet, Nanbu knows that is Iscandar. But next to it, Shima points out without actually saying its name, is Great Garmillas. They look at the two planets, both beautiful in their own way, floating peacefully in space. Kodai locks his eyes on Garmillas, knowing that somewhere down there is Yuki.
[LC]: It’s worth noting that Yurisha is wearing the same color suit Yuki would be wearing.
Yuria reports there are no ships on the cosmo radar within a radius of fifty light seconds. Yamato remains in orbit of Epidora, as if waiting for something to happen. But no ships appear. No enemy hoard to battle. Only… silence.
[LC]: This scene is very well done. They have a crescendo of action, leading up to the warp. Then they warp out, and there’s a beat where they discover their new surroundings, both their salvation and their tormentor. And then… just Yamato lingering there, with Epidora in the background. No music, no dialogue, only a few subdued sound effects.
Then Shima opens his mouth and the fan is impacted by excrement… Damn you, Shima! NEVER COMPLAIN ABOUT THE QUIET!!! XD
Close by, a countdown is underway, ticking off the seconds to deliver Yamato its final blow. The battleship is little more than a speck in the center of the target scope on the main screen at Dessler’s command center. He sits calmly in his chair with Yuki and Norran at his side. With a wicked grin, he watches closely as the final seconds pass. When the countdown reaches its end, a bright flash of light whites out the screen.
[LC]: As soon as the music in this scene starts playing, you know two things. Something big is about to happen and Dessler is involved. The music is based in a cue used in Yamato whenever Dessler was about to attack and is appropriately called “Dessler Attack.”
At the Lagrange point 1 between Garmillas and Iscandar, where Baleras II now floats, the peace of space is violently broken. A massive stream of energy streaks across the skies. Yuria’s screens are suddenly flooded with information, as the cosmo radar picks up the massive beam heading straight toward them.
[LC]: This Wave-Motion Gun-like weapon shouldn’t be too much of a surprise. Velte Talan did mention it at the end of Episode 8 after seeing Yamato fire its Wave-Motion Gun against that massive solar flare. Good to see not all the past cues went to waste.
Yuria reports the rapidly approaching threat and Okita looks toward the horizon. Relentlessly, the energy torrent bears down on Epidora and Yamato. Could this be the end of the line?
[LC]: This is an awesome shot. The camera starts up close and personal in Okita’s eyes and pans back, out the bridge windows and still farther until Yamato is but a speck. And it’s one hell of a cliffhanger to finish not only an episode but the whole Chapter 6.
[DG]: Thus ends Chapter Six of 2199. Unfortunately, this episode and the one preceding it were starting to show cracks in the production process due to the 1/3 reduction in turnaround time. Perhaps more unfortunately, it was also starting to uncover bigger issues with quality control in writing/production/planning at the macro level. It’s nothing that stops the series from being a massive success, but some things could easily have been avoided with proper planning. Overall, the chapter as a whole showed 2199 at both its greatest height and its lowest ebb.
[LC]: I do admit that while writing this commentary I found new appreciation for the episode. The bits of bad animation and nonsensical dialogue are truly the low point in the series. But as a whole, the good scenes and the bits that move the main story forward give us enough reasons to come back to it and power through the bad stuff. It’s still the worst in the whole 26-episode run, if I had to choose one. Those flaws nearly sink it. But it still remains afloat after the credits roll. And that’s the best compliment I can give it.
The enemy unleashes the light of despair upon Yamato. Will Yamato be blown apart just as it reaches its destination? Overcome this deadly peril and advance, Yamato! Your goal is the enemy’s heart: Dessler’s Palace.
Next time: One Man’s War.
There are 210 days left before humanity becomes extinct.
Episode 22 credits
Screenplay: Hiroshi Onoki
Storyboard: Kazuyoshi Katayama
Director: Kiyoshi Egami
Chara Animation Director: Hiroki Takaki, Mitsuru Ishihara
Chara Chief Animation Director: Akihisa Maeda
Mecha Chief Animation Director: Masanori Nishii
Original Story: Yoshinobu Nishizaki
Planning: Shoji Nishizaki, Mitsuhisa Ishikawa, Satoshi Kono
Original Character Design: Nobuteru Yuuki
Guest Character/Prop Design: Shinichi Yamaoka
Mecha Design: Junichiro Tamamori, Yasushi Ishizu, Kiminori Yamane, Yutaka Izubuchi
Set Design: Takeshi Takakura, Makoto Kobayashi, Takashi Watanabe
Concept Design Support: Kazutaka Miyatake
Chief Director: Akihiro Enomoto
Director of Photography: Takashi Aoki
Art Director: Minoru Maeda
Video Editing: Emi Onodera
Color Correction: Rumiko Suzushiro
Music: Akira Miyagawa, Hiroshi Miyagawa
Sound Director: Tomohiro Yoshida
Sound Effects: Mitsuru Kashiwabara
Chief Mecha Animation Director: Masanori Nishii
CG Director: Takashi Imanishi
General Director: Yutaka Izubuchi
Production: Space Battleship Yamato Production Committee
Production IG, Bandai Visual, Xebec, Bandai, Bandai Namco Games, Voyager Entertainment,
Tohoku Shinsha Film Corporation, Shochiku Co. Ltd., OLM, Lantis Co. Ltd.